Police officer sacked after arranging for child to join visit to registered sex offender | UK News

A police officer has been sacked after arranging for a child to go on a routine visit to a registered sex offender.

Detective Sergeant Nicola Coutts was dismissed without notice following an accelerated misconduct hearing held by Avon and Somerset Police.

The hearing heard how DS Coutts arranged for a teenage work experience student to attend the Violent and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR) office, as well as shadow an officer on a routine visit to a registered sex offender.

This happened without authorisation from the former officer’s senior managers and without submitting a formal application or obtaining vetting clearance.

Chief Constable Sarah Crew ruled DS Coutts’ actions were in breach of the standards of professional behaviour and amounted to gross misconduct, and decided the sanction should be dismissal without notice.

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The police force’s head of professional standards, Supt Mark Edgington, said: “DS Coutts’ line manager had specifically asked her to halt the placement and take the teenager out of Headquarters prior to the home visit taking place, but this direction was ignored.

“The officer who conducted the home visit didn’t know the teenager’s age and believed all necessary vetting and security considerations had been carried out.

“The teenager was not left alone at any time, and the visit was cut short after the officer was contacted by phone and told to return to Headquarters immediately.

“DS Coutts’ actions in arranging and facilitating the placement were highly reckless and demonstrated poor judgement and a significant lack of professional care.”

She will now be added to a barred list, preventing her from working in policing or other law enforcement agencies again.